The new AAP government in Delhi intends to make participatory governance a key component of the capital's development planning. Kejriwal's book, `Swaraj', gives examples from Brazil, Switzerland and USA. He cites a small town of 1.3 million people, Porto Alegre in Brazil, which has also drawn praise from World Bank.
Mayor Lacerda will be sharing the story of such initiatives at the ConnectKaro conference on Thursday. He will be drawing attention to how issues of urban development and sustainability have been tackled, citing examples from two major events - FIFA World Cup and the upcoming Olympic Games in Brazil. In an interview, Lacerda - who has been voted as the best mayor in Brazil - recalled the challenges. "During the 1950s, 85% of our people were living in rural areas and now it is the other way round. The pressure was evident on the city's environment, housing, sanitation and traffic. All this began changing when about 15 years back the federal government introduced a statement of cities wherein every city had to define land use under a master plan. Then a ministry of cities was set up. In Belo Horizonte, we set the process in motion in 2009, giving shape to a strategic plan 2030," the Mayor said.
So, residents were called to give suggestions for the strategic plan at public meetings and through the internet. People were asked to contribute to the making of a vision document on 12 well defined key result areas associated with subjects like education, health, mobility, housing and environment. This led to a master plan in 2010.
Planning linked to the FIFA World Cup also led to smart city initiatives linked to mobility in particular. The BRT which covers 23km is hailed by the mayor as a success story. Around seven lakh people use this mode of transport daily and this has resulted in bringing down congestion extensively, says Lacerda.
He explains that in his city, people's voice finds prime space through many associations and research institutes that carry out polls using internet based platforms.
There is, in fact, now a Mobility Platform where people voice their suggestions and concerns and the authorities cannot afford to ignore their voice.
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